Karen

Half Done or Just Begun

June 30, 2011 in Mini Moments

In case you haven’t noticed this yet, 2011 is officially at the half way point.  I don’t know about you, but I find that awesome and intimidating to consider.  First of all, I’ve barely formed the direction I was hoping the year would go.  In that regard I’m not quite ready for it to be past February.  It’s a dilemma that we all face as we watch the days just melt into each other.  I’m finding myself aspiring to get up earlier and earlier to simply have more time to complete all the things I had hoped would get done.

I like to think there’s no rush, but my five year plan from three years ago isn’t in place yet and my five year plan from ten years ago left me in the dust too.  Now some of you that know me may suspect I’m having the jitters because my birthday is about to come around again too.  Yipes!  Not only is the year half over, I’m half over!!!  Okay, well, only God knows that I guess, but it’s getting a bit too close for comfort.  What happened to those invincible teen years when we thought we would live forever and time seemed to drag on and on and on?

Since we’re all standing here together, at the midyear crisis point, let’s agree to dig in and discover at least one thing before the year ends that we accomplished well, that we cheer about in our chats with God and are grateful to have achieved.  It may not be a big thing and it doesn’t have to be.  It just needs to be your thing, the thing you and God already designed together.  There’s no time to waste, no taking half measures.  It’s time to knock it out of the ballpark, over the fence and beyond.

It’s time to rise up with gratitude and a can-do attitude and make the second half of the year better than you could have imagined.  You’re not on a Mission Impossible.  You’re totally ready, totally equipped to take the mission to the finish line.  Oh, I can hear people already applauding.  Might even be the angels cheering you on.

Go on now, as that redneck Cable Guy, Larry says…”Git ‘er done!

 

 

 

 

Karen

Karen’s 12 Days of Christmas…

December 13, 2010 in Mini Moments

On the first day of Christmas,  the good Lord sent to me…one hopeful heart and a humble and warm nativity.

On the second day of Christmas, the good Lord sent to me…two happy thoughts and the blessing of a loving family.

On the third day of Christmas, the good Lord sent to me…three answered prayers, two happy thoughts and a humble and warm nativity.

On the fourth day of Christmas, the good Lord sent to me…four fa-la-la’s. Four fa-la-la’s, three answered prayers, two happy thoughts, and a humble and warm nativity.

On the fifth day of Christmas, the good Lord sent to me, Five Ways to Shine!…Four fa-la-la’s, three answered prayers, two happy thoughts and a humble and warm nativity.

On the sixth day of Christmas, the good Lord sent to me, six Bible verses and a nine foot evergreen tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas, the good Lord sent to me, seven kinds of cookies and a big pot of peppermint tea.

On the eighth day of Christmas, the good Lord sent to me, eight Christmas greetings and some love from my friends and family.

On the ninth day of Christmas, the good Lord sent to me, nine folks to pray for and a few folks to pray just for me.

On the tenth day of Christmas, the good Lord sent to me, ten gifts of promise and a heart full of hope and charity.

Ten gifts of promise, nine folks to pray for, eight Christmas greetings, seven kinds of cookies, six Bible verses…Five Ways to Shine!!!   Four fa-la-la’s, three answered prayers, two happy thoughts and a warm and a sweet nativity.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, the good Lord sent to me, eleven dreams to ponder and a light sure to guide me on my way.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the good Lord sent to me, twelve special Proverbs and a Psalm just to read throughout the day.

(Sing it!)

Twelve special Proverbs, eleven dreams to ponder, ten gifts of promise, nine folks to pray for, eight Christmas greetings, seven kinds of cookies, six Bible verses, Five Ways to Shine!!!….Four fa-la-la’s, three answered prayers, two happy thoughts and a humble and warm nativity!

Okay…so you might not be able to sing your way through this whole thing…but give it a try, keep your heart light, and celebrate the God of your heart all throughout the season.  Stay warm wherever you are!

Karen

It’s More than the Horse

October 21, 2010 in Mini Moments

Recently, I had a chance to see the movie, Secretariat, with Diane Lane and some other fine actors.  As a movie, it started out strong and ended strong.  The audience was poised to win from the very beginning.

When we’re trying to win, we set a whole new dynamic in motion.  We know the outcome.  The outcome is to win.  It’s simple, but it quickly becomes diluted with the naysayers, the negative people whose influences are toxic.  Winners need faith!  It takes faith to keep going when everyone else says you don’t stand a chance. It takes faith when your spouse doesn’t see your vision, or your family doesn’t support your direction.   It takes faith when you try and fall down and try again to no avail.  It takes faith to keep believing when maybe your only hope is that you have backed the right horse.

Faith though is not really about the horse, or even about the people who surround you, it’s all about you.  The Bible tells us over and over again that if we believe we can move mountains.  If we have hope for things we can’t yet see, we have faith.  Faith isn’t a cookie cutter prospect.  It doesn’t work the same way for every person who signs up for it.  The one thing is constant though.  The One who made you, the One who believes in you, is the One who protects your faith.  That One is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  That One sees your effort and knows your name and wants you to win.

You have to run your race, as they say in the movie.  Only you can do it.  Secretariat ran against a lot of odds, establishing a winning record that has not yet been achieved in exactly the same way.  It’s your story too.  You are meant to win.  You will achieve in ways that no one else can because it’s your race.

Today, you have a choice.  You can feel the losses, or you can look for the win.  Your win may not look like anyone else’s so don’t try to see how it compares because it doesn’t.  You and God know what creates a win for you.  Pony up to the gate then and get ready to run!  It’s your day to win!

Karen

To Know You Is to Love You

August 16, 2010 in Mini Moments

Whether you recall the lyric to this song circa Bobbie Vinton or Perry Como or someone else, it’s a great reminder of how special it is to be loved…to be known…to be visible to someone else.  For any of us, friendship and love are aspects of relationship that only come along now and then, only happen when we choose to really get to know someone.  Almost always we discover that the more we know someone, the more we spend time with them, the more we love them.  I can’t help wondering if that’s true of our relationship with God as well.

Jeremiah 1: 4-5 says, “The Lord gave me a message.  He said, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.  Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.”  As you recall, David says something similar in Psalm 139 when he speaks of God knowing him before he was yet knit in his mother’s womb.

To know you is to love you.  The fact remains that from God’s view of things, He has known you from the very beginning, whatever that beginning is, since He knew you before you were even born.  He knew you and loved you and called you into being for a very special reason and part of that reason was simply so you would learn to love Him, and love others and know what it means to be loved yourself.

Awesome stuff!  Loved before you were born!  Now imagine if we played that card with the people in our lives, that we loved them first, even before we got to know them as a friend or a business associate.  What if we loved them simply because they were known and loved by God already?  What if we loved each other into being more of what God had in mind so that any of us could be spokepeople for that kind of love?

The song goes on to say, “Just to see you smile, makes my life worthwhile…”  Imagine today how much your smile means to those around you and then realize what it means to the One who knew you before your birth, the One who always loves you, unconditionally, for all time.  Your smile makes a difference.  Your love makes a difference.

Choose love today…it serves everyone better! You were born to make a difference!

Karen

Everybody, Somebody, Nobody

August 4, 2010 in Mini Moments

Somebody chose

To spend the day

Helping others

In a loving way.

So seeing a man

Along the road

Somebody offered

To carry his load.

Nobody expected

The joy it could bring,

But that one small gesture

Made both of them sing.

Everybody can

When they’re willing to choose,

Make somebody a winner

That was destined to lose.

Yes Somebody knew

The gifts he could share,

Because he too had  a time

When nobody was there.

For Nobody sees

When trouble starts brewing,

And Nobody knows

What Somebody is doing.

But Everybody needs

Special help now and then,

The gift of a smile,

The love of a friend.

God sees all the  needs

And hears every call

But He needs Everybody

So Nobody will fall.

Somebody wins

When we each do a part

So that Nobody suffers

A broken spirit or heart.

You’re Somebody special

And Nobody knows

The seeds you can plant

So Everybody grows.

You are Somebody

And each day brings the choice,

To reach out and deliver

God’s hands and His voice.

Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone.  Galatians 6:10

Karen

Mini Moments–LOVE

February 12, 2010 in Mini Moments

Since we’re heading toward the official greeting card love day on February 14th, I thought it would be fun to offer some quick thoughts on what love is, to me, maybe to you, or maybe just to spark some thoughts for your own Valentine.

Love is…

  • someone who opens the umbrella before you step out in the rain
  • a hug just when you need it most
  • a sweet, but needed apology
  • someone who genuinely wants to know just about you and how you are
  • a smile on a cloudy day
  • an unexpected angel
  • chocolate kisses
  • gifts of conversation over hot lattes
  • families around the dinner table
  • heads bowed at church
  • holding hands any time at all
  • prayers said for a friend in need
  • phone calls just to bring you joy
  • apple pie any time
  • the smell of bread baking
  • hiking through the rain forest
  • the perfect word spoken at the exact moment you need to hear it
  • reaching out when you’re slightly afraid
  • receiving in joy when you’re more used to giving
  • believing, even more than seems logical
  • stepping up with no hesitation to help someone else
  • stepping back to let someone else shine
  • holding on with hope
  • cheering someone else’s good fortune
  • the sparkle in your eyes when you tell a good story
  • the champion of your heart
  • what God does unconditionally
  • forgiveness
  • your favorite pet
  • holding someone in your heart no matter what
  • offering blessings
  • flowers
  • a child’s precious smile
  • a beautiful song
  • a poem
  • baby toes
  • sharing a book
  • being more than kind
  • being authentically yourself
  • a true friend
  • a peaceful heart
  • respecting each other’s gifts and needs
  • floating in the hot springs
  • quiet synchronicity with someone special
  • a back porch on a spring evening
  • the moon from a hot tub
  • pasta on a stressful day
  • friends beyond measure
  • you

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.  Let everyone near you know you love them every chance you get.

Blessings of love to each of you.

Karen

Mini Moments–What’s in a Wish?

December 6, 2009 in Mini Moments

As a long time greeting card writer, I’ve come to respect the idea of sending heartfelt wishes to people we care about.  It’s a simple way to both acknowledge and be a small part of a special celebration or event.  Most of us appreciate the considerate and kind thoughts of others.  In recent years, there’s been an odd trend to question whether or not we should wish each other a “Merry Christmas.”  This all seems like strange thinking to me.

In general, a wish is meant to say “You’re in my thoughts, I recognize something special about today, and it does my heart good to share a tiny bit of this occasion with you.”   A wish is often standing in for a prayer because the sender is really hoping that you will have real happiness on your birthday, or you will get back to good health quickly, or that whatever makes Christmas a wonderful and merry season for you will happen.  That’s the nature of wishes.  That’s the nature of any warm-hearted greeting.

The Bible talks about wishes as greetings.  Corinthians says it’s good to greet each other with a holy kiss, and the disciples were always known to greet each other with uplifting words like, “The Lord be with you or Grace be with you, mercy, and peace.”  Greetings, wishes, warm ways of addressing each other out of love and human kindness…what a wonderful way to connect heart to heart!

As we approach the Christmas season this year, planning the gifts that will bring joy to our loved ones, sending out cards and letters and emails to keep connected, let’s remember that wishes come from the heart.  Wishes are a free expression of your tenderness toward other human beings.  Scrooge may well say “Bah humbug” to everyone who walks around with Merry Christmas on his lips, but I say “thank you.”  Thank you for sharing the joy of the season, for thinking of me in such an encouraging way, hoping the best for me for the year ahead and reminding me that your friendship will indeed be part of the new year.

Wishes are born of love and I guess at Christmas I like to think of Jesus as being God’s biggest wish for the seasons of our lives and that He sent us all a message of Good News, glad tidings!  All wishes are good…Season’s Greetings, Happy Hanukkah, Joy to You…but for me my favorite at this time of year will always be “Merry Christmas”  signed with love.

Karen

Mini Moments–Falling Leaves

November 21, 2009 in Mini Moments

There’s something wonderful about fall leaves in upstate New York and other parts of the eastern U.S.  Vibrant colors strutting their stuff in a cacophonous frenzy, reminding us that this part of the life cycle has incredible beauty all its own. As the leaves drift through the air at the slightest invitation of a passing breeze, they become the musical sound of a crunch chorus that makes us want to rake them all together.  The kid in us comes out and wants to dive in like we did only moments ago when we were able to find the joy in little things.  The fall season is the motherload of metaphors for time and life and causes me to reflect a bit on those golden nuggets that just may be worth remembering as we head toward Thanksgiving dinner.

Job 7:6 reminds us that our “days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle.”  Most of us have become quite a beautiful tapestry by now and so here are a few threads that have been woven into my own masterpiece, the kinds of ideas that blanket my life with hope and warmth.

In the spirit of leaves drifting by your window, I offer these colorful thoughts:

  • Your time is always valuable.   It is not slipping through your fingers, it is rising every morning to give you new possibility.
  • Your friends hold you up and hold you accountable…that’s what friends are for.
  • Your work is designed to connect you more closely with your Creator, the One who gave you the gifts to perform it in the first place.
  • Your character is worth protecting, and its worth refining.
  • Your kindness is more powerful than your anger could ever be.
  • Your words create an embrace, or cause a dark space, only love can replace.
  • Your heart is always at the peak of the season.
  • You win every time you recognize the game.
  • Your love colors everything and shines in the faces of those around you.

As you watch the falling leaves with gratitude for all that you are and all you’ve become, remember that this day will never come again, that you are the vibrant, golden rich resource of all that is and you are blessed beyond measure. So to quote from an unknown writer…

Take the life that you have and give it your best,

Think positive, be happy, let God do the rest,

Take the challenges that life has laid at your feet,

Take pride and be thankful for each one you meet,

To yourself give forgiveness if you stumble and fall,

Take each day that is dealt you and give it your all.

Go play in the leaves…it’s a great day to be alive!

Karen

Mini Moments–Commitment–Sacred or Scary?

November 15, 2009 in Mini Moments

It seems to me that one of the scariest words in the English language is the word “commitment.”  On one hand, we sign agreements, contracts, marriage certificates, business partnerships, knowing full well that if it doesn’t work out, there’s a string of loopholes we can take to the court while we feed our favorite attorney.  As the saying goes, “the difference between involvement and commitment is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast:  the chicken was involved–the pig was committed.”

Scary as the idea of commitment is, it’s actually one of the most sacred and beautiful things we have to offer someone else. When we “commit” to love and marriage, or any kind of partnership, we sincerely do so in good faith.  We do it because we genuinely believe in all the possibility that comes from building something solid and growing with someone or something that means the world to us.  We commit, but what happens after that?   Spaces develop, communication weakens or even dies, but why?  Maybe it’s all about running scared.  Maybe somewhere deep down after the agreement was made, we began to question our motives, or the serpent of illusion came slithering through the corners of our hearts, offering answers that seem more rewarding.  Too often, we take the bait.  Too often, we bite.

One of my favorite Leann Rimes songs is called “Commitment.”   Her lyric in part says,

“Commitment
And everything that goes with it
I need honor and love in my life from somebody
Who’s playin’ for keeps.
What I’m searching for
Is a man who’ll stand by me
Who will walk through the fire
And be my flame in the night.
I won’t settle for
Less than what I deserve
A friend and a lover who’ll love me
For the rest of my life.”

It seems the world we live in today isn’t so much about “playing for keeps.”  As I think about this, knowing I’ve backed away from commitment myself, I can’t help thinking how grateful I am that I do have a “flame in the night.”  My Heavenly Father is always committed to keeping the light on for me and He’s always standing by me even when I walk through the fire.  In fact, His commitment was so strong, He gave His Son.  To this point, I’d still have to say, I’ve been involved, but I haven’t really been committed.  Thankfully, God made the commitment to honor my involvement.  I do have a “friend and a lover who will love me for the rest of my life.”

These days, I’m all about “commitment” to God and to the people I love and there’s nothing scary about it.

“The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.” Deut. 5:3

Karen

Mini Moments–Coffee Talk

November 8, 2009 in Mini Moments

Some of you may remember the sketch Mike Myers did on Saturday Night Live of his over the top Jewish character, Linda Richman.  It was a popular piece lasting six years and bringing untold memories to viewers.  Linda, with her highly polished long nails and big hair would take calls from local viewers and sometimes get “faklempt” in the process and have to have the audience “talk amongst yourselves.”  Her heroine was Barbra Streisand and so most shows had a bit about Barbra and how her singing was like “buttah.”  It was fun TV and the character was created around Myers’ real-life mother-in-law. When Barbra made a surprise appearance on the show, the crowd went wild and the actors had all they could do to stay in character.  Myers pulled it off by saying “I can die now!” as his Linda nearly passed out with the utter joy of it all.

No doubt there are those who would find this sketch offensive for one reason or another, somehow disparaging Jewish women or women in general, but it was in fact a great sketch for being able to laugh at ourselves.  Linda Richman came to viewers with her whole personality in tact, always giving some almost totally irrelevant moment to discuss something when she was faklempt.  For example, she would say, “chickpeas, neither a chick nor a pea, discuss…”

Borrowing a moment from the sketch, I’d like to bring “Coffee Talk” back to the screen, at least the computer screen.  I’d like to celebrate the things that make us laugh because they are universal in every culture, be willing to admit vulnerability and feeling faklempt and discuss the mysteries of the world around us that actually don’t really make sense much of the time.

As a New York born and raised girl myself, I invite you for coffee any time.  Let’s talk.  Let’s laugh about those things that are truly funny, embrace the things that fill our hearts with blessing, and hold hands any time we disagree with how the world should look. If we do that, we can be friends forever.  Coffee talk is always about building friendships and most of us thrive with personal and meaningful interaction with others to help us stay grounded (no pun intended).

Today I invite all my friends to sip and savor more of life, toss out the old filters where the grounds aren’t meaningful and bring on the vanilla beans and talk a latte.  Coffee talk is fun, brave, flavorful and keeps you coming back for more.  It satisfies a craving for a kind of connection, something I sense even God would applaud in us.  In fact, He might really love it if we came together with Him, inviting His Spirit to touch the joy, the vulnerability, the mystery of life and bringing us together as friends.  In John 15:14, Jesus even said, “You are my friends.”

So come on over, we’ll have coffee, we’ll talk…and we’ll pray, and we’ll laugh, and we’ll hold hands and hearts and recognize once again what it means to bless the differences and the similiarities that make us all real.  Why the very thought of that is making me faklempt.  Talk amongst yourselves…bellybuttons…not really your belly, not really a button…discuss!